The call to help raise funds to support the fired SABC 8 has been overwhelmingly answered as donors have stepped up to give over R280 000 to ease the financial burden on the journalists.

News24 editor, Adriaan Basson, started the Friends of SABC journalists fundraiser on generosity yesterday morning shortly after hearing that four of the eight had been fired.

After news emerged that the others had been subsequently fired, they were also added to the fundraiser, with the aim of securing $6 000 (around R86 000) which would be distributed between them.

By 10:30am today $20 224 (R288 685) had been raised.

Speaking to Basson said he thought of the fundraiser as a way to support the SABC 8 seeing as the end of the month is approaching and the journalists now have no means of income, a helping hand was needed to ease a bit of pressure off their shoulders and help them take care of their families and needs.

The aim was to give each journalist R10 000.

However, Basson said he wasn’t expecting the response to be so massive.

“It’s really amazing, it shows that South Africans care about media freedom, about journalists’ right to express themselves and that the people love and value the SABC and know that it’s important that such an institution is allowed to operate in a environment free from intimidation and fear,” he said.

Basson said the amount of donations received range from as little as $5 to a massive $10 000 donated by an anonymous individual, which shows the diversity of people from different socio-economic backgrounds and that people genuinely care about the cause against the SABC 8’s unfair dismissals and censorship.

SABC 8 completely blown away by donations

“The SABC 8 are very grateful, I spoke to them last night an they are completely blown away and humbled. The message from all of them was ‘we will pay it forward’, I like that and I think they’re been facing a really tough few weeks and at least they know there’s some funding available for them,” Basson said.

The fundraiser will stay open for the next two weeks until the month ends and judging by the response just in the last 24 hours, it may very well get to R500 000.

The money will be distributed with the help of attorney Willem de Klerk, who has offered to facilitate the process through his firm.

Crowdsourcing could be helpful for future campaigns

Basson points to crowdsourcing tools like as vital in efforts to help individuals under fire from media giants.

“It’s been shown to be very effective and maybe we should, in the media industry, also use this platform going forward when fellow colleagues are in trouble, obviously not only at the SABC but also maybe in future when we need to use it in similar cases,” he said.

[Image – CC Wikimedia Commons]